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A Tale Of Two Irish Pubs

By Edited Jul 8, 2014 7 14

I was born and raised in Scotland, but at the tender age of 19 I set off across the pond to Canada, where I forged a fabulous new life for myself. That forging took all of 17 years and then I was off again, this time to the sweltering heat of Atlanta. That is where I reside till this day, but even though I have now been gone for longer than I lived in my native Scotland, I still get little twinges of homesickness that only a good pint and a shepherd's pie will cure. There is not a lot of call for Scottish establishment's here in Georgia, except for The Tilted Kilt, which is actually more like a Hooters for Highlander's. So I am forced to connect with my Celtic brothers, and instead seek out an Irish pub, of which there are plenty.

The problem is that not all those bars are created equal, which means that you have a 50/50 chance of having a pretty horrible experience, and that's exactly what happened to my wife and I recently. My wife is a Regional Chef, which means that she spends a fair amount of time on the road. When she is out and about she always keeps an eye open for a new place for us to try, and just last week she came home bubbling with excitement, spilling the details of an Irish pub that she has passed on the way home. We could barely contain ourselves, and with the weekend approaching we made plans to pay a visit.

Pub #1 - The Dublin Pub, Snellville, GA.

As we pulled into the parking lot of the Dublin, I was truly taken by how traditionally Irish the place looked on the outside. Hopes were raised, only to be dashed as we set foot inside the door. The place looked very hastily put together, a mishmash of Irish beer signs adorning walls that was painted a rather putrid color of green. The place hadn't been open long, so we wrote the interior off as being probably unfinished as we settled ourselves at the bar. The waitress, who looked no older than 12, appeared and immediately informed us that they were out of Guinness. WHAT?? An Irish pub without Guinness is like a Scotsman without a temper, of which my own special brand was beginning to flare at this point. Turns out there were several beers that were out, and it may actually have been quicker for the poor girl to tell us what they did have. As we ordered the drinks, the chef comes rolling out of the freezer carrying a stockpile of frozen, boxed foods that he took with him to the kitchen.
Undaunted, we ordered a batch of wings which, despite taking 35 minutes to be made, were actually very good. With things starting to look up I ordered the shepherd's pie, and was immediately brought back to earth with a loud thump. Drier than a camel's hoof, and equally as tasty, the pie was a disaster, as was Penny's Irish beer banger. Enough was enough, it was time to go, but the day was still young, and so we decided to hit another Irish pub that we had been to several times before and knew was fantastic.

Pub #2 - Mac McGee's, Decatur, GA.

A short 20 minute drive took us to our favorite little town in Georgia, and a pub that is everything an Irish establishment should be. Cozy and warm, with service, food, and beer that will always bring a smile to your face. We shared a delicious cheese plate, as well as a $30 shot of Royal Lochnagar whiskey; it was penny's birthday, and with Burn's night right around the corner, it was an extravagance that seemed somehow fitting. The place was busy, and the music was just right, setting a perfect mood for all the happy drinkers. It should have been enough to make us forget about our earlier experience, but with every passing belch, that shepherd's pie did it's best to jog my memory.



Jan 26, 2012 5:08pm
Hahha A fun read,I can share your frustration with pub #1 No guinness! What the....
Jan 27, 2012 4:10pm
I love pubs. When I was in Ireland I went to so many tiny small town out of the way Irish pubs...fantastic experience!
Jan 27, 2012 7:59pm
I'll bet it was Maxwell. The wife and I usually go on little pub adventures here in the spring and summers months. Just drive till we hit a spot, and then give it a try. Have found some great places that way.
Jan 31, 2012 1:16am
$30 for a shot of whisky? I am Welsh myself and my frugal celtic blood would have riled at the cost, hehe. That first pub review is more than a good reason for tourists to keep well away.x
Jan 31, 2012 9:21am
Ah, but had you tasted that whiskey....it was the ambrosia of the gods...i thought my wife was going to cry it was so good....LOL
Jan 31, 2012 10:35am
Can't stand Whiskey myself, but can hold my own against any man with Guinness,haha.
Jan 31, 2012 10:56am
LOL....back in the day I was unbeatable, but as soon as I crossed the 40 threshold, my alcohol tolerance took a swan dive
Feb 1, 2012 10:30pm
Glad you had a better time at the second pub or that could have worked out even worse considering it was your wife's birthday! Nice to meet you here and look forward to more of your interesting writing. Cheers!
Feb 10, 2012 3:47am
Oh boy, I just love Guinness Stout. I used to screenprint the tea shirt for an Irish pub in Kalgoorlie and had many drinks of Guinness there. Think I rolled home more than drove or walked.
To top that off we always make our own home brew. And we make beer and Stout just love the stout. Oh I miss those days at the Irish pub.
Feb 10, 2012 5:51am
Lol, I know exaclty what you mean about Irish pubs they all seem to be chains or tacky little bars with no real flavour. The only half decent one is O'neils (a chain) and then ONLY because they have Red Guiness :(
Feb 19, 2012 4:43pm
I've walked out of bars when the bartender didn't know what I meant when I asked if they knew how to build a pint. If they don't know what I mean chances are slim to none they can do it! Hard to believe that actually happens in a bar in an Irish neighborhood. Gives me hives thinking about it.
Feb 20, 2012 11:09am
Hopefully the pub "scene" in and around Atlanta will improve. I lived in So Cal for several years and was lucky to have a couple good pubs in the area.
Nov 24, 2015 3:01pm
Seriously, this is the best. So happy to be reading your work again, as always you made me laugh aloud. Happy for you as well that you have found a place that you can enjoy. I hope you are staying warm this winter season!
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